Open water Swim 3.8km race plan 12 weeks

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Open water Swim 3.8km race plan 12 weeks


Nick de Meyer BTF level 3 Coach, TRX Instructor

All plans by this Coach


12 Weeks

Typical Week

4 Swim

Longest Workout

1:30 hrs swim

Plan Specs

triathlon ironman beginner intermediate advanced masters pace based strength base period

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This is a pool to open water swim plan where you'll start gradually building the distance up from 1500m to 4km progressively over the course of the training plan.

In this swim training plan for open water events and racing you'll be swimming 3-4 times a week. In the first week you'll do an aerobic based 1000 metre time trial which will help you to set your aerobic threshold pace, from which the rest of the plan will be based. There will also be at regular intervals other test based swim sessions to re test your fitness, and pacing.

It would help if you have a tempo trainer, but is not mandatory. Throughout the course of the 12 week plan, you'll progressively add more distance, with sessions focusing on aerobic pace control, distance per stroke, open water skills and drills, and speed work.

From the 5th week you'll be doing an open water training based session once a week, working on navigation, drafting, mass starts, sighting and race paced workouts.

This swim plan is designed by Nick de Meyer, Head coach for Speedy Swimming, (BTF level 3, STA level 2 swim teacher, Master endurance coach Training Bible UK) who specialise in teaching triathletes and swimmers. This plan encapsulates all of Nicks training, racing and coaching experience of many open water triathlons, long triathlon events, his swim skills and drills teaching methods and from completing the Dart 10km Swim in Devon.

Purchase of this plan includes our comprehensive Swim Training Guide, which explains how to use your training plan, including swim drills and open water articles, plus email access to Nick at any time for questions that you may have about this plan.

Once you have signed up we will email you the Description Document.

Questions? Please visit us on the web at or email Nick directly at:


Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 03:20

Nick de Meyer

Sound Coaching

Nick has been a Level 3 British Triathlon Coach for 10 years, and has been a master endurance coach with Training Bible Coaching UK in that time. He is also a Training Peaks Level 1 Coach, and was formerly a Regional Development Coach for the South East region for British Triathlon.

Alongside his online coaching business, Nick also runs Speedy Swimming which specialise in 1-2-1 front crawl technique lessons, endless pool swim video analysis, swim clinics and group swim sessions

Sample Day 1

10x100 (30 rest)

BT: WU 200m fc easy Then do 10 x 100 with 30 seconds rests. All-out effort. What was your total time for this set (or average 100 time)? cool down 200m mix of strokes

Sample Day 3

400's Anaerobic end

Warm Up 400 alt 100 free / 100 back 8x50 alt drill (personal weakness) / kick (use back and side kick) 100 choice easy Main Set 4x400m FC AS: #1 - 200 hard 200 mod-hard on 30s rest #2 - 400 TT pace on 30s rest #3 - 200 hard 100 steady 100 easy on 10s rest #4 - 400 TT pace Key swims are #2 and #4 - pacing is key to avoid exploding! This should be a difficult main set, requiring significant concentration for #4 Cool down 200 mix of FC/ BC easy

Sample Day 8

20x50 (10

BT: WU. 
200m FC build pace on 2nd 100m
Main set 
Then do 20 x 50m FC at 85% effort with 10 seconds rests. All-out effort. What was your total time for this set (or average 50 time)?
Cool down
200 mix of strokes easy

Sample Day 10

Key swim session, maintaining pace and effort throughout session. Practicing open water drills. Improving butterfly technique

Warm up:

800m as 1st 600m FC then alternate by length BC and Br
4x 25m Kick “head lead body dolphin with fins” to get undulating effect (– see GO SWIM video from link on training page)
100m of 1 stroke butterfly and 1 stroke breast

Main Content:

400 FC Paddles and pull 60 rest

10x 200m with 30 rest
• No.s 1 + 3 turnarounds and bilateral every 3
• Numbers 2 + 4 IM (use pull buoy on all including breast stroke – do fly kick)
• No.’s 5 + 6 swim FC easy
• No.s 7 + 9 double sighting every 5
• No.’s 8 + 10 Time trial hard 85% effort

100m FC paddles with just fingers through loops – not wrists 20 rest –
(if losing paddle then push phase of stroke is incorrect. )

2x 500m hard FC 80-85% 30 rest
2nd 500m negative split

Coaching Points (CP’s):

ButterFly technique
• use 2 kick per 1 arm stroke, ie, one at hand entry and one at exit
• Use pull buoy on fly to keep legs together
• Keep chin just above water when breathing
• Try to stay flat on water so not rising out too much
Double sighting
• Look up forwards with water just below nose, won’t disrupt stroke this way
• Take a first glimpse, then sight again straight away to get better picture

Sample Day 12

Aerobic pace control 20x100s

Warm Up 300 FC 100 pull Main 20 x 100m FC repeats - 10-15 sec Rest Working at a level of 70-80% (MHR) 1st,6th,11th and 16th 100m bilateral every 5 Every 5th 100m use paddles (no pull) Every 3rd 100 Stroke count -2 Drills if time: 100’s of drag fingers, zips, catch up, fists, spearing -30 recovery Cool Down 100 BC 4x 25 sculling 100 BR

Sample Day 14

Long swim

Warm-up (600) 200 swim, 200 drill, 200 pull Main Set (2400) – swim or pull 3×100 with 25 sec rest, find a comfortable pace that you could maintain for the 2.4-mile race swim 2×150 with 20 sec rest, hold pace established on first 3×100 300 with sec 20 rest, hold pace 600 with 15 sec rest, build end of 600 300 with 15 sec rest, hold pace from 600 2×150 with 10 sec rest hold pace from 600 3×100 with 10 sec rest, finish strong! Cool-down (200) 200 choice Total yardage = 3200

Sample Day 15


200m warm up main 1500m at 70% continuous swim focus on sighting practice and marker buoy turns 8x50m @ 90% 30 rest interval cool down 100m

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